Australia’s Cloud market has reached mainstream adoption far faster than anticipated. ARN’s latest roundtable 'Cloud Evolution and the ongoing journey' set out to answer the question, where to from here?
The roundtable was held at Jonah’s Restaurant in Whale Beach on Sydney’s northern peninsula, and was sponsored by rhipe (formerly Newlease). Guests were flown up by Sydney Seaplanes to discuss the future of the Cloud market, as it rapidly becomes the de facto infrastructure standard for many Australian businesses, and has vast repercussions for the channel. The concept of Cloud computing has quickly evolved from the early days of simple grid computing, to encapsulate utility computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Today, this emerging model means users can access their applications from anywhere, any time, through their connected devices.
The full pictorial slideshow of the event can be found here.
TIMES ARE A-CHANGING
Partners and MSPs that were quick off the mark – those that got in early and built Cloud services - are already reaping the rewards and have built the strategies to safeguard against the risks. Equally exciting are the new ‘born in the Cloud’ partners, who are keen to capture a piece of the market and differentiate from competitors.
The iPad and iPhone generation won’t tolerate downtime, and have no tolerance for slow load times and poor user experience interfaces. What was acceptable 10 years ago, in the nascent Cloud market, is not acceptable now, according to Enspire CEO, Geoffrey Nicholas.
His company built its first datacentre in 2005, a single HP Box in a datacentre in Collins Street, Melbourne. Customers loved it.
“What we found was that was a better solution than what our customers had. If we went to market with that strategy today we just wouldn’t sell anything. I mean we’ve got to have a fully redundant environment; uptime is enormous. You just can’t underestimate what was acceptable then is just not acceptable now,” Nicholas said.
“I would hate to be trying to break into the Cloud service provider market now. It was so much easier in 2005. We didn’t have the tools that we have today, seven, eight, nine years ago, but the customer expectations demand it.
“People will come and they will look at our datacentre, they don’t care what sits behind it whether it’s Hyper-V or VMware, whether we’re replicating with Veeam… they just want to know they can get their data back if they need to. In our solution we’ve got to be able to have something on the site that can actually drop the VM in their environment. Security is also really, really important for them, alongside accessing old data. If something happens to Enspire or there’s a disaster in Melbourne and the ASX building that we’re in just goes offline, those are the sort of things that are really driving the customer behaviour now.”
Newcastle-based Regional IT managing director, Dan Wright, agreed that Cloud has gone mainstream, and customers’ Cloud solution demands are becoming more sophisticated.
“I think a lot of them are well and truly on to the Cloud, whether they’ve done their own research or not, they’re well and truly onto the fact that they need to make the move. Customers are even saying to us ‘we need a hybrid Cloud model’. There are a lot of areas where we’re working where broadband isn’t that great, so they want some kind of model where it can be resilient – so if the broadband is down they can still access their information. The customers - particularly a lot of our customers that we wouldn’t expect to be fairly advanced - have grown and they understand and expect that it’s going to be an element of whatever we deliver,” Wright said.
Has Cloud adoption been in-line with expectations, or faster or slower than expected?
“My gut feeling is that it has been a faster adoption than we probably would have anticipated if we were sitting here 12 months or 24 months ago,” Microsoft’s director of small and midmarket solutions and partners, David Gage, said.
“There’s no question Cloud is now mainstream. It’s not an advertisement, but if you want a proof point around the scale that they’re seeing - Office 365 has had 21 quarters of triple digit growth. Azure has had 16 quarters of triple digit growth. And when you get to that point the law of small numbers does not apply. You’re talking massive stakes. It’s a significant business now and I think that the acceleration that we’re seeing it surprised me.”
RedHat’s Australian sales director, Colin Garro, agreed.
“Cloud is now mainstream in Australia and it will continue to grow. A survey done by IDC said that Cloud computing will now grow six times faster than traditional enterprise IT. Those numbers are irrefutable now.”
Citrix’s director of field sales, David Nicol, observed the market had changed fundamentally. “From our observations, starting with small business and now progressing to larger businesses and organisations, is the recognition that doing it themselves, particularly for core infrastructure, doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Nicol said.